The ‘modern’ Christmas tree tradition is thought to have originated in 16th century Germany, where small evergreen trees were decorated with the likes of candles, apples, nuts, and berries as “Paradise trees” in church plays. Over time, devout Christians integrated these decorated trees into their homes during the holiday season. The tradition, which became a Christian ritual, began to spread across Europe. German immigrants brought this practice to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, where it was promptly rejected by Puritanical religious groups for its historically pagan connotations. While it took a while to catch on, small communities of German-born settlers documented the continuation of this practice as early as the mid-1700s. In the late 1840s, a published depiction of the favorable Queen Victoria celebrating Christmas with her German-born husband, Prince Albert, and their family around a decorated evergreen tree transformed the practice into a fashionable one that wealthy Americans soon rushed to adopt. In short order, local businesses caught on to the ornament’s commercial potential.
By the 1890s, Woolworth’s Department Store in the United States was selling $25 million in German-imported ornaments made of lead and hand-blown glass. As time went on, tree decorations became increasingly artful, incorporating new materials such as tinsel, silk, and wool.
Once the premiere manufacturer of handmade ornaments, Germany was suddenly competing with Japanese and Eastern European mass-production as the Christmas bauble became a globalized commercial venture. By the mid-1930s, over 250,000 ornaments were imported to the United States.
In 1973, Hallmark introduced their “Keepsake” ornaments, which afforded these decorations collectible value. The first collection consisted of glass baubles and little yarn figures, and each successive line of limited-edition ornaments has been unique to the year.
Today, the Christmas tree has shed most of its religious significance. Having become a fully-integrated cross-cultural winter tradition, families of all faiths around the world await that beloved time of year when they can dust off their decorations once more.
I LOVE Christmas ornaments. My collection is forever growing too. Some people like to have themed trees and ornaments. Some people like to change them from year to year. There is nothing wrong with either of these ideas, but I love the eclectic eccentricity of all of my ornaments. My collection is a personal, unique collection of all kinds of different ornaments, and I wouldn’t have it any other way either. I love them all. All of our ornaments are unique and they all tell their own story. Some of our ornaments are from my parents. Some represent certain big events. Some are from our many travels from around the world. Some represent our sports and hobbies. Others are for our beloved fur babies. They are all different and they are all beautiful in their own ways.
This beautiful ornament was a gift from our friends Scott and Traci in honor of the loss of our beautiful big girl, Lucie. The other one is to honor all of our other beloved fur babies who have crossed over the rainbow bridge as well.
This one is for our wedding day.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays.